BELOW IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY VOICE LESSON WITH PEACHES CHRENKO REGARDING MY NEW SONG:
“When I’m discouraged, sometimes I crawl”
It had been exactly a month since my father had died. Stress was building up in my life. My days felt like they had become rocks again. The heaviness that weighed upon me sometimes made it physically difficult to even move. I kept everything inside, and could not release nor share it with anyone.
I attended a memorial service for my father that was held at his nursing home. My mother and her caregiver, Miriam, attended the service with me. Another man spoke and tearfully mentioned how dementia was a “scourge” upon his father; I completely understood. When it was my turn, I spoke about my dad’s love for me and then I sang my song “You Were There.” I finished and went back to sit down; I was completely drained but inspired. My mother poked me and said, “Where were you?”
A few days later, there was a moment when the stress became so great, that I thought it might erupt from me. But nothing was able to be released. Instead, the pounding in my ears became so loud that I could not hear anything. I wished I could escape.
Pain squeezed my insides, and caused my breathing to become ragged. My throat muscles were raw and it was hard to swallow. A few burning tears splashed down my cheeks; I tried to calm my ravaged gut.
I was filled with total despair and there was nothing to hold onto. My heart felt like a devastated wasteland. I was certain this feeling would pass, and I would survive as I had before. But this situation was different. Survival felt selfish. I was concerned about my children. I wanted them to be strong and resilient, and at the same time I longed to protect them. But I could barely take care of my own emotional needs. I was trying very hard to cope with the loss of my parents. My cocoon of safety was gone and everything was uncertain.
I had often pictured my journey as one of walking along a pathway. My path was one that gently meandered through grassy landscapes. A beautiful castle was always visible in the distance. Now the landscape around me was on fire. I needed to figure out whether to run backwards and put out the flames or whether to run in another direction.
The throbbing pain inside of me continued as questions swirled through my mind. Had I caused the fire? Would others be hurt in the fire? Was I supposed to rescue everyone? I began to feel myself burning because I couldn’t move to make a decision. My journey was no longer a pleasant stroll. It was becoming painful. One day, I would open up to share my pain.
But at that moment, I was lost.
“With me in every song”
For three days after that, I was numb. I decided that I needed to focus all of my energy into healing myself. I was never going back to the place I had lived in for decades – Zombieland. I tried to find ways to remind myself that I had healed and was no longer that person anymore. Just looking at the fingernails on my hands reinforced how I had the ability to change. I didn’t stop biting my nails until I was 50 years old.
It was an improvement in my life that I’ve felt very proud of.
I often strained to remember my father’s voice and missed him very much. But I had to accept that he was truly gone forever. I could still feel his love and my new song’s lyrics enveloped me with comfort.
It seemed logical for me to retreat into my musical world where I felt safe. In that magical place, all of my uncertainty disappeared. I spent several days working on finalizing an intricate guitar arrangement for my new song. Today, I met with my arranger, George to create an arrangement.
I came home and sat alone in my bathroom. My bathroom had a corner area with a chair; it was where I played my guitar and wrote my songs. As I listened to the exquisite notes of my new song’s arrangement, tears began to freely gush down my cheeks.
I tried to practice singing along, but my voice became too choked with emotion. I could not sing. Still, I noticed that all of my stress had begun to melt away. It dawned on me that suddenly I felt better. This day was definitely not as heavy as a rock. I was elated; my day was golden once again.
What had changed? I closed my eyes and tried to make sense of it. I decided that all of my stress came from a place of disappointment and high expectations – mostly with myself.
Life would always hold stress. Living in that place was not really living!
My song was a gift to remind me of what was important in my life. Uncertainty, fear and disappointment evaporated because I knew I was blessed.
What had changed was that I went to a different place, one of gratefulness and appreciation.
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.